Plant-based nutrition has become increasingly popular over the past decade as more people recognize the health benefits of a diet that emphasizes whole, plant-based foods. However, despite the growing body of research that supports plant-based diets, many myths and misconceptions about plant-based nutrition persist. Here, we’ll use scientific evidence to debunk the top 7 myths about plant-based nutrition.
Myth #1: Plant-based diets are deficient in protein.
This myth is likely the most common misconception about plant-based diets.
Many people believe that plant-based diets are inherently deficient in protein and that eating meat is the only way to get enough protein.
This couldn’t be further from the truth.
There are plenty of plant-based sources of protein, including legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. In addition, research shows a well-planned plant-based diet can provide all the essential amino acids needed to build and repair tissues.
According to a 2022 study published in Nutrients, protein intake is often lower in people following plant-based diets compared to meat-eaters but still falls well within recommended intake levels for optimal health (so long as they’re eating a variety of plant-based protein sources). (1) Additionally, research shows that whole food plant-based diets are associated with lower rates of chronic diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer. (2)
Myth #2: Plant-based diets are deficient in iron.
Iron is an essential mineral critical in many bodily functions, including oxygen transport in the blood.
While it’s true that some plant-based foods contain less iron than animal-based foods, it’s still possible to get enough iron on a plant-based diet. Plant-based sources of iron include lentils, leafy greens, beans, blackstrap molasses, nuts, and fortified cereals.
Research shows that vegetarians and vegans are no more likely to develop iron-deficiency anemia than meat-eaters. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that vegetarian and…